Quite Frankly

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Hey Frankie,

I don’t really have a gig lined up for the summer and I’m super stressed about it! Is that rational? How much should I actually worry? What can I do to fix this seeming terror?!

Sincerely,
Too Stressed to be Blessed

Dear Stressed,

Quite frankly, “irrational” doesn’t mean “less worrisome.” So whether or not your worries are rational, they exist. Unfortunately for you, irrational worries tend not to respond to rational logic; I can give you any number of reasons why you don’t need to freak out, but if you’re worried about something, you’re likely to keep worrying until either a) you tire yourself out or b) the situation reaches a resolution.

I’m really not equipped to quantify how much you should worry. I mean, if you’re having financial security issues, that’s definitely something to be pretty concerned about.

If you’re just thinking your lack of a prestigious internship for this summer will make you look bad during your future job search process, that’s slightly less pressing. There are always other (probably better) ways to make yourself look appealing to prospective employers than listing an internship with which they may or may not be familiar.

Vassar culture (or maybe just, like, Gen Z culture in a general sense?) posits that we students don’t get a true break for summer. That irritates me. One of the reasons why college continuing year-round without a break isn’t a standard schedule is that college is hard.

We need mental breaks to come back and perform as well as we can. Vassar’s schedule gives us breaks every six weeks, but we usually feel compelled to fill those breaks with all manner of laudable pursuits, like volunteer work, winternships or independent academic projects.

A huge push to endow your summer and other break periods with some kind of career-focused or otherwise mentally rigorous occupation really undermines the restfulness a break can bring.

That said, my ability to enjoy a carefree attitude comes largely from my parents telling me that I can live rent-free at home this summer if all else fails. However, this is a privilege that not everyone has.

My suggestion to fix this seeming terror also might be less than useful if having a summer occupation is necessary for your financial wellbeing, but I’m going to hope that it helps anyway. Ask yourself: What happens if I don’t get a summer gig? The honest answer is probably not as scary as you think it is.

Best Wishes,
Frankie

P.S. For what it’s worth, I’ve spent the last several weeks stressing about my summer, too. You’re not alone, my pal.

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